Japan’s SBI involved in blockchain project to digitize “premium vouchers” for low-income families
The Japanese firm Kyushu Electric Power has declared that it will offer a blockchain platform to the Fukuoka-based regional bank Chikuho Bank to support it digitize the “premium vouchers” for low-income families. Chikuho Bank will, in turn, work with the Ukiha City Chamber of Commerce to distribute the vouchers in the small Japanese city Ukiha. Earlier, SBI helped Chikuho Bank to publish a local digital currency, “Changwa” which is being used in the app.
“Premium vouchers” were injected to Japan in October 2019 to preserve low-income families and families with children from the effects of a consumption tax hike. The vouchers are worth 25,000 yen ($234), and limited numbers can be obtained by these families for 20,000 yen ($187), with the government embracing the rest of the cost.
Two problems with the vouchers have driven to a move to digitization. First, estimates state the “printing and distribution costs” of physical vouchers for the government could be very costly and reach up to 30 billion yen ($281 million). More crucially, the coronavirus crisis has made physical distribution far more complicated and possibly dangerous, with widespread attention over congestion at distribution points.
In the declaration, Kyushu highlighted that digitizing the vouchers utilizing DLT will make the process of distribution far more straightforward and more “streamlined.” SBI Holdings, who are affiliated with Chikuho Group, have while played up the “convenience” of the new system for everyday people and its significance for safety in a “post-corona society.”
Although this development only affects a few of the families who receive “premium vouchers,” Kyushu states it intends to continue operating with governmental and financial institutions to digitize the vouchers further.
SBI is one of the most active companies in Japan when it comes to blockchain. It launched Money Tap, the Ripple powered payments app with 35 banks. It has joint ventures with both Ripple and R3, and various blockchain investments, including in insurance consortium B3i and digital assets platform Securitize.